The new Echo isn’t hugely different from the first model. It still performs all of the same tasks, can still hear its wake word from across the room, and still doesn’t have great audio quality for listening to music. If you already have a first-generation model, it doesn’t make much sense to replace it with the new Echo — you don’t gain much with it and in some instances, you give up some.
The Echo’s new swappable decorative shells are also designed to make the device blend in with your home better.
The new Amazon Echo is just under 9cm shorter, standing 14.8cm tall and is covered in your choice of fabric, wood or metallic finish, standing in stark contrast to the monolithic black or white towering cylinder of the previous generation. It looks more friendly, blending into the fabric-covered surrounds of the home a little easier, but in some way looks a little less unique and impressive.
How does it work?
An array of seven microphones in the top listens out for a wake word, which is “Alexa” by default, and then starts listening to your commands, be they questions, smart home demands or entertainment requests. The new Echo will do everything the old one does: play music via the internet (Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn or Radioplayer), tell you the weather, the news or what’s on your calendar, give you information about your commute, answer general knowledge questions, set timers and alarms, control the lights or other smart home devices and generally act as a voice-controlled helper.
Amazon Echo 2
- Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, ask questions, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.
- The 2nd generation Echo has a 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.6” tweeter to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room.
- Want to play music on an Echo in another room? Now with multi-room music, you can tell Alexa to play across your compatible Echo devices.
- Use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the coffee maker on your way to the kitchen, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger. Ask Alexa to turn on the TV, turn up the volume, change the channel, or play your favorite movie. Echo can control your Fire TV, and select devices from Sony, Dish, and Logitech.
- Let your household know when dinner is ready, ask someone for help with a chore, or remind the kids to go to sleep — without having to raise your voice.
- Echo uses tens of thousands of skills and counting. Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza from Domino’s, requesting a ride from Uber, tracking your fitness with Fitbit, controlling your TV with Dish, and more.
- Customize your Echo for any room with Echo Shell, available in a range of fabrics and finishes